“Clean Eating” The Backlash: Why did Clean Eating get so offensive?

My name is Ban and I consider myself a ‘clean eater’. There, I said it. I’m a ‘clean eater’. I eat ‘clean’ and I’ve been eating ‘clean’ long before I’d heard of James Duigan.

It would probably be more sensible to call myself a ‘a predominately whole foods eater who also eats meat, dairy, gluten, has never tasted acai or ingested lucuma powder, and is in a complicated relationship with artificial sweeteners’ but for the purposes of this blog post, I’m going to call myself a ‘clean eater’. Why? Because 1. Clean is whatever the f*ck you want to make it and 2. I have no shame whatsoever in calling myself a ‘clean eater’. In a world suffering from an obesity and a diabetes epidemic, I will never, ever, feel worried, nervous, or guilty about preaching a clean lifestyle.


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But why did Clean Eating get so offensive? Amidst the low calorie starvation diets, amidst the detox teas, the magic soups, and Trump, are we actually suggesting Clean Eating is a bad thing? Did we actually go there? Yes, we did. Here are 8 arguments against eating clean.


  1. Eating “Clean” = eating alkaline/plant based/raw/vegan 


Eating clean does not mean eating according to pH balance.

Eating clean does not mean you’re vegan.

Eating clean does not mean you have an unhealthy obsession with raw spiralized vegetables.

Eating clean does not mean you start your day with a vanilla-moringa-chlorella smoothie enlaced with aduna baobab fruit and narnia nibs.

Most clean eaters just eat food. They eat real, normal, fresh food. They shop at Sainsbury’s.

They eat fruit. They eat vegetables. They eat meat. Some eat dairy. They don’t eat a ‘Taste the Difference British Classic Cottage Pie 450g (Serves 1)’  because they use their kitchens.


  1. Eliminating food groups is harmful 


Your banana is a carb. Those butternut squash noodles you bought in an attempt to ‘cut out carbs’ ? Congratulations, it’s still a carb.

Just because it’s not beige does not mean it’s zero carb.

Eliminating carbs from your diet is harmful.  No sh*t sherlock. And furthermore, it’s stupid and also unnecessary. But clean eating doesn’t propose that. Learn the facts. Eat some quinoa porridge. occupational health Services.

Refined carb-free does not = carb-free.


  1. People who eat clean are depriving themselves

This person has obviously never heard of Pinterest. This person clearly has no imagination. This person hates cooking. This person is probably lazy.

‘Clean eating’ is not #tupplife. Clean eating is not eating chicken breast, broccoli and 11 almonds six times a day. That’s dieting. That’s bodybuilding. That fitness competing. That is not clean eating.


  1. It takes up too much time

One word: Wasteman


  1. It’s expensive 

Raw cacao is expensive. Coconut oil is expensive. Matcha is expensive. Apples, peas and rice? Not expensive. Lunch prepared in your own kitchen? Far less expensive than most sandwich shops. Superfoods are not ‘clean eating’. They’re anal.


  1. It creates a bad relationship with food


No one, and I repeat no one, is saying that buying pesto in a jar makes you less of a person. No one is saying you have to grind pine nuts and basil every time you want some pasta. It’s not an all or nothing lifestyle. There’s no ‘clean eating police’ out there waiting to throw bits of kale at you if you choose nutella over a ‘healthified’ raw hazelnut spread.

If you feel a sense of shame for eating ‘unclean’ foods or god forbid, ‘dirty’ foods, the problem isn’t ‘clean eating’ the problem is you.


  1. It’s fuelling eating disorders

Orthorexia is a serious present day issue. There is no denying that there is a rise of Orthorexia and I will never undermine any form of eating disorder.

However, it’s completely irresponsible to claim that ‘clean eating’ is the cause of orthorexia.

Like anything (and absolutely everything) in the Health & Fitness industry, it’s only dangerous when taken to extremes.


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